Background:Ewing's sarcoma family of tumours (ESFT) is a malignant small round-cell tumour of the bone and soft tissues. It is characterised by a strong tendency to invade and form metastases. The microenvironment of the bone marrow is a large repository for many growth factors, including the basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). However, the role of bFGF in the invasive and metastatic phenotype of ESFT has not been investigated.Methods:The motility and invasion of ESFT cells were assessed by a wound-healing assay, chemotaxis assay, and invasion assay. The expression and activation of FGF receptors (FGFRs) in ESFT cell lines and clinical samples were detected by RT-PCR, western blotting, and immunohistochemistry. The morphology of ESFT cells was investigated by phase-contrast microscopy and fluorescence staining for actin. Activation of Rac1 was analysed by a pull-down assay.Results:bFGF strongly induced the motility and invasion of ESFT cells. Furthermore, FGFR1 was found to be expressed and activated in clinical samples of ESFT. Basic FGF-induced cell motility was mediated through the FGFR1-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Rac1 pathway. Conditioned medium from bone marrow stromal cells induced the motility of ESFT cells by activating bFGF/FGFR1 signalling.Conclusion:The bFGF-FGFR1-PI3K-Rac1 pathway in the bone microenvironment may have a significant role in the invasion and metastasis of ESFT.
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